Google co-founder Larry Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand

Google co-founder Larry Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand

Google co-founder Larry Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand

"You wouldn't have to know anything about flying a plane".

It has managed to go under the radar in New Zealand because until now it has been operating under the different name of Zephyr Airworks, but some intrigued investigators began to connect the dots after it was found its chief executive was named Fred Reid, president of another company associated with Page called Zee Aero that also shared the Kitty Hawk craft's codename, Zee.Aero.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality". "We had no Kitty Hawk of our own", the statement read (Kitty Hawk was the North Carolina town near which the Wright Brothers made their historic experimental flight).

Certifying the vehicle with a regulatory body will be a major undertaking, but if Kitty Hawk and Page succeed, New Zealand could lay out the blueprint for aviation regulators worldwide.

The aircraft was by Kitty Hawk, headed by Sebastian Thrun, who previously led the development of Google's self-driving vehicle project as the director of Google X.

Eric Allison, Zephyr's vice-president of engineering, said while Cora takes off and lands like a helicopter, it has none of the noise usually associated with helicopters.

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Once in the air, a single propeller drives Cora at about 110 miles per hour, between altitudes of 500 and 3,000 feet.

The Cora already has experimental airworthiness certificates issued by both the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Other countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, have been more aggressive about allowing unmanned flights and appear willing to be some of the first places where this technology will be used. Uber has also announced its plans to launch Elevate, an app-based vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. That had a world class reputation in certification and regulation.

The vehicle, has been under development for eight years, and it can take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter.

In November 2017, Boeing bought Aurora Flight Sciences.

It has been clear for several years that improvements in batteries, electric motors, and software would make it possible to build a vehicle like this.

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